Dear Ann Cannon • My sister-in-law thinks the world revolves around her. I should have realized this from the beginning, when my husband and I announced our engagement and she gave us a list of dates that worked well with her schedule. Then when we chose a date that worked well for our schedule, she didn’t come.
Luckily, typically this isn’t an issue, as their family doesn’t live close. But anytime we are planning holidays or family gatherings, she wants to be in charge of everything and everything is about what’s best for her. She’s also very insensitive to the fact that this is a second marriage for both me and my husband, so we have complicated issues with child visitation and legal guidelines about holidays when we have our kids. Should I sit down and have a heart-to-heart with her? Or do you think it will make her defensive and me even more mad?
— Had It
Dear Had It • I’m going to answer your last question first. Will having a heart-to-heart with your sister-in-law only make her more difficult to deal with? Because I don’t know her personally, it’s hard to say. It’s always possible that sharing the realities of your situation with her, especially where your kids are concerned, might cause this sister-in-law to finally have an aha(!) moment. She may just be genuinely and innocently clueless. By the way, is she your husband’s sister or is she married to his sibling? If she’s his sister, ask him what he thinks. He might have a good idea about how she’ll respond.
I gotta say, however, that based on what you’ve shared here, chances are good she’ll take offense. Is this possibility worth it to you? If not, then skip the conversation. If talking to your sister-in-law, however, will make YOU feel better and you can live with her reaction whatever it may be, then go for it, although I recommend that you stay as polite and positive as possible.
Dear Ann Cannon • My partner and I have a fur baby who has been happy and healthy until this year. Now we are spending more and more time at the vet’s office and with each treatment, my partner gets more and more upset. I’m having to be the strong one about this, even though I’m as torn up (if not more so) about it than my partner is. I want to say that we should let nature take its course and enjoy the time we and the fur baby have left, but I have no idea how to broach this subject without coming across as callous and unfeeling.
— I Care Too
Dear I Care Too • Oh gosh. I’m sorry. Watching a beloved pet decline is never easy. And the situation becomes more complicated when a couple has different ideas about how end-of-life issues should be handled. Not that it matters, but I tend to side with your approach. Why? Because I used to be your partner, i.e. that person who let a pet linger too long because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. The last time this happened, I decided I needed to reassess my motives. Whose interests did I really have at heart?
It’s unlikely that you’ll change your partner’s mind, especially if he or she hasn’t had much experience on this front. I do think, however, that you should tell your partner how you feel — that you love your pet and that you want what’s best for it. Explain that you feel like constant trips to the vet, as well as the treatments prescribed, may negatively impact your pet’s quality of life. We humans understand why doctors prod and poke us. Animals? Not so much.
I hope this helps. And I do wish you all the best of luck.